By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
If, like me, you have spent the majority of your professional life working in a traditional office, making the transition to a home office
can be difficult. Whether by desire or obligation, working from home
introduces some new challenges into both your professional and personal lives. Often, the line between the two can be blurred and can lead to a sense of disharmony or even conflict. If you find yourself in the position of having to work from home for an extended period, here are some pointers that have worked well for me.
In theory, changing your work location
should have absolutely no effect on your professional conduct. However, working from your favourite couch while petting your cat may lend itself to a certain comfort that may not be befitting of a productive work space.
Additionally, infiltrating your personal space with work can also exacerbate the feeling of never being able to detach from it – even while relaxing at home. Ideally, you should be able to separate the two as much as possible. If you have the room to create a home office, it is imperative that you do so. Even the corner of your bedroom will suffice as long as it is a designated area where you can conduct your work. It doesn’t mean that your work space needs to be stodgy or uncomfortable; you just need to sequester it from your personal affairs.
Just because your office is now in your home, it does not mean that you are responsible to perform any domestic tasks during your working hours. When I first began working from home, my wife and I were undergoing some fairly expansive home renovations. While my presence at home made it infinitely more convenient to complete these renovations quickly, my work life was frequently disturbed
as a result. After struggling to balance both elements, it was clear that I needed to separate my professional goals from my personal projects. Just because you are physically present at home does not mean that you should undertake any domestic tasks during your working hours. If anything, you should behave as if you were still commuting to an office
Studies have shown that employees who work from home typically perform better than those who perform the same job in a traditional office environment.
With little human distraction, it is much easier to focus on your work and complete your assigned tasks. Additionally, working from home results in taking fewer breaks and, ultimately, working longer hours. Somewhat counter-intuitively, overworking is a common result of those who work from home.
While this can certainly benefit your professional life, your personal life may suffer as a result. To combat this, I have, over time, developed a rigid schedule for myself to ensure that I am taking frequent breaks from work and that I know when to shut down for the day. Setting these boundaries have really improved my productivity and have helped me lead a more balanced life.
Don’t be gimmicky
Some people subscribe to the theory of dressing as if you were going to a normal office to establish a professional tone and to make yourself feel like a productive member of a work force. My personal belief is that this is nonsense. One of the greatest benefits of working from home is that no one can see you and that you can be as clothed (or not) as you please. You may also feel like a bit of a fool dressing up for yourself every day. Others may subscribe to the notion of working from a coffee shop or a public library to combat the loneliness of the solitary office. Again, this is something that I do not recommend. In order to successfully work from home, you need to set a routine that involves establishing a controllable and comfortable environment.
Admittedly, it can be hard to keep focus with your X-Box a few feet away or a fridge full of delicious food within reach. Do your best to establish a good routine and try to focus on the elements that will help bring balance to all the elements in your life.
“Joe Issid is the Managing Editor at theScrib.com. If you would like to contact him directly, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”